The 15th anniversary of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the fifth edition of the Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health took place at the Princely Palace on September 23. The event presented a unique opportunity to act for the ocean, the earth, and humanity and to support the missions of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco presented Sharon Stone with the foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in acknowledgment of her remarkable involvement for the empowerment of women and her relentless humanitarian efforts throughout the world. Sharon Stone acknowledged by stating, “It is a joy and an honor to share this evening with my dear friend and compatriot His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco. We have known each other our entire adult lives, and once again, our friendship deepens as we share this common goal. It is with great humility that I accept this honor to serve at his command.”
In her speech and in reference to the health of our world and ourselves during the pandemic, Ms. Stone stated, “One of the things that happens most directly during these times that we stay alone is that we understand the importance of being present. When you see what’s happening to our environment, we understand most predominately what being present in ourselves and in our world means.”
Though best known for her work in films such as Basic Instinct and Casino, Stone has been honored with a Nobel Peace Summit Award, a Harvard Humanitarian Award, a Human Rights Campaign Humanitarian Award, and an Einstein Spirit Award, among others. She has been a fierce advocate for AIDS research for decades and a shining example of survival as documented in her recent biography, The Beauty of Living Twice. Her role as producer in the documentary, My Name Is Water, contributed to both awareness and funding towards clean water, wells, rainwater harvesting structures, and more in rural sub-Saharan Africa. I had the pleasure of representing Stone in 1998 when she purchased her Sea Cliff home in San Francisco. I also attended the Cannes Film Festival and Cinema Against AIDS with her, fundraising for the American AIDS Foundation’s amfAR Gala. She was a tireless fundraiser for the amfAR auction for over 20 years and opened many people’s wallets for good causes.
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco addressed the Monte-Carlo Gala audience with a reminder of the continuing theme of the protection of our environment and the impact of climate change. “Our lives have changed, our society has changed, our future has changed,” declared the sovereign. “… [T]he world has grasped the dramatic scale of the climate challenge we are facing. … Because what unites us is not only the urgency … [i]t is also a sense of responsibility. “We must refuse closing our eyes [when] faced with situations that concern us all, whatever our circumstances and wherever we live [because] the deterioration of the ocean has devastating effects on the coastal population and on humanity as a whole … [P]lastic pollution contaminates the food chain and contaminates each one of us. … [T]he disappearance of the most fragile ecosystems, such as the corals, will deprive us of essential resources in the future.”
Through the gala’s signature auction, funds are raised to support the foundation’s critical and comprehensive portfolio of conservation projects: to protect endangered species from illegal wildlife trade, to expand marine protected areas, to promote renewable energy and resource efficiency in emerging economies, to eliminate deforestation, and to better understand climate change, particularly in the polar regions. For this exceptional edition, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation joined forces with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, through a series of lots auctioned in support of their relentless efforts for the well-being and development of children.
HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco addressed a special message to the guests: “My foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation joined forces a few years ago to develop a number of projects directed to clean our Mediterranean Sea of plastics and, more largely, oceans around the world. I was not able to join this evening, but I would like to thank you all for your support and generosity. It is my strong engagement and determination to support these projects, as we have an immense responsibility towards our future generations with the state of the planet they will inherit from us.”
Auction items this year included an arctic expedition to the North Pole with HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, a custom-made Van Cleef & Arpels sapphire and diamond pendant created from the Ocean tiara of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, a Porsche Taycan Turbo S (the very first electric Porsche) from the personal collection of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, and a studio visit and creation of custom artwork from Jeff Koons. Monaco property giant Patrice Pastor donated an exceptional dinner prepared by Mauro Colagreco, chef and owner of 3-Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur at Pastor’s ecological waterfront development, Mareterra, with HSH Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. It fetched 500,000 euros at the auction.
Mr. Olivier Wenden, vice-president and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, reflects on the tremendous work done, thanks to the funds raised in the past four editions of the Monte-Carlo Gala when the honorees were Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Robert Redford, and Sting. Launched in 2006, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has become a leading NGO for the preservation and education of sustainable development on a global scale. For 15 years, the foundation has significantly contributed to almost 700 projects focused on three main areas: climate change, biodiversity, and water.
Presided by HSH the Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health is organized by his Foundation and Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, with the support of the Monaco Yacht Show, the Oceanographic Institute, the Yacht Club of Monaco, the Société des Bains de Mer, and the Monaco Private Label.